“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” — Steven Furtick
FOMO, the fear of missing out, is when we get anxious or saddened by the thought that we are missing out on some exciting event that is taking place somewhere else. While it sounds silly, it’s an idea that’s wormed its way into our minds and is constantly reinforced by society and on social media. This ‘silly’ dilemma can shape our decisions: it can make us go to certain events and regret the events we didn’t go to. We are constantly searching for any cool events that are coming up, or any events that we might have missed. It’s time to fight against FOMO, with the following tips:
Be intentional on social media.
Social media is addictive because it’s a passive activity that provides us with spontaneous bits of pleasure whenever we get a notification, message, or an update from a friend or acquaintance. Anyone can go on social media, and with so many people on it all the time, we are provided with constant visual reminders to check our smartphones to see if we have any new notifications. To get as many notifications as possible, we exaggerate our lives to make it seem like we are always doing the coolest, best, and most exciting thing possible. Remember that this is all a facade. People tend to only post exciting things on social media. While most of us realize this, reminding ourselves of this simple message can help us realize that we aren’t constantly missing out on fun activities. Ditching social media for a while can also help us avoid FOMO.
Realize that everyone has fun differently.
As Gretchen Rubin states, just because something is fun for others, doesn’t mean you will find it fun, and vice versa. While someone else might enjoy going to parties or always being out with friends at bars, perhaps you prefer going on hikes or swimming. There is no wrong way to have fun, so even if someone is having fun doing an activity, you don’t need to feel like you are missing out because you aren’t doing that activity with them.
Appreciate what you do.
As the old saying goes, ‘the grass is always greener on the other side’. Instead of focusing on our own fun activities and our own situation, we are comparing ourselves to others. What fun activities do you enjoy doing? What fun activities have you done lately? When we appreciate our own lawn, we can begin to make it look greener, from our own side.
Yes, in order to deal with FOMO, we have to accept it. While the above tips help, we may never completely get rid of FOMO because we are only one person. We can only be at one event, at one time. The truth is, you are always going to be missing out on something. If you are at a fun concert, you are not on a cool hike that someone is doing somewhere else. If you are working on a book, you are not swimming out in an ocean. We can only do one thing at a time, so reflect on your values, goals, and priorities and determine what you want to do and not pay as much attention to what others are doing.
Try new things.
If you are still really struggling with FOMO, try doing new things. Is there something you feel like you are missing out on that you have never done before? It could be going to a new country, visiting a new coffee shop, or seeing your favorite artist perform. Find a time to do that activity, and see what you think about it. When we try new things, we have new fun things to do, and it makes us feel like we aren’t missing out on so much after all.
The fear of missing out can be a real burden, but when we approach FOMO with these strategies, it becomes easier to handle. This allows us the space we need to really live and love the life we have.1